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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “A slice of bacon: Mr. Colangelo, here’s an idea”

    Shane Baconstaff writer
    Shane Bacon
    staff writer

    Unless you haven’t turned on ESPN since the Keith Olbermann sayonara, you’ve heard that our Olympic team hasn’t exactly been up to snuff.

    The last time our Olympic basketball team took the floor, it finished a disappointing third, reluctantly receiving the bronze medal like Steve Jobs would if someone handed him a $20 bill.

    That team had one ex-Wildcat, New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson, who had to take a backseat with his slashing and finishing to similar players like Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James, Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade and Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion.

    While the director of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, has taken his job seriously in bringing the gold back to the U.S., he might need to look deeper at former Wildcats when he finds his squad.

    Gilbert Arenas – Washington Wizards guard

    Arenas might be the quintessential example of a player that Arizona head coach Lute Olson took in as a high school athlete with holes in his game and made into an NBA All-Star.

    The 6-foot-3 combo-guard ranks No. 4 in the NBA in scoring at 28.3 points per game but also brings more than just a scoring threat.

    Arenas is known for his work ethic and defensive pressure on the ball, proving his reputation’s validity by finishing sixth in steals with 1.74 per game last season.

    With the knock on Americans being the inability to mesh well and hog the ball, it might be good to get a quirky guy like Arenas out there who has the game to play but the ability to share.

    It would almost be idiotic not to include Arenas in a team that had a Kobe Bryant/James core with solid role players doing their job and notching wins.

    Channing Frye – New York Knicks center

    If you rule out Arvydas Sabonis and finger-wagging Dikembe Mutombo, most foreign centers are very Frye-like.

    They are fundamental, can hit the outside shot and don’t need to Shaq-kill you inside.

    Sure, it would be nice to have O’Neal in the lineup to bang the foreigners around until their chests turn red, but with him not playing, it might just be the time to fight fire with fire.

    Frye is playing in one of the toughest places to play at, Madison Square Garden, and is carrying a troubled Knicks team on his broad shoulders.

    A guy who is coachable, likable and doesn’t mind passing the ball off to someone else to hit the shot sounds like someone I wouldn’t mind representing the country.

    Salim Stoudamire – Atlanta Hawks guard

    Definitely the darkest horse on the list but probably the biggest push I’ll give.

    I was watching a commentator on ESPN who said that his 2008 Olympic team would include Duke senior guard J.J. Redick.

    Redick? Seriously? A 6-foot-4 shooting guard who can hardly create his own shot in college basketball is going to be the best outside shooter to pick from? (Don’t believe Dicky V and all those guys who say that he can create. It’s balderdash. He’s still just a jump-shot threat and that will continue to another degree at the next level.)

    What about the guy who smoked him in 3-point percentage last year in college?

    Stoudamire finished as the No. 1 3-point shooter in the nation at 50.4 percent while Redick was No. 39 at 40.3 percent.

    Plus, Stoudamire brings the ability to drive to the basket, something Redick makes look like a nursing home dance-floor move.

    You can’t deny the fact that USA Basketball needs a pure shooter, and having Stoudamire just chilling behind the line until someone dishes him the ball wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    You can’t deny the fact that basketball belongs to the Americans. Sure, the Tony Parkers, Manu Ginobilis and Pau Gasols of the world have made it a tougher path than the original Dream Team trekked, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be golden.

    By adding a few talented ex-Wildcats to the mix, we can be.

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